Archive for August, 2011


• Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'aye'.


  • (n.) bee

Hetu ei i aye oku.
“I don’t fear bees.”

Notes: This happens to be true. I know quite a few folks who will run the other way if they hear a bee. I’ve never understood it myself. Perhaps this is because I’ve never been stung by a bee.

By the same token, though, I could never imagine being stung by a bee. I mean, an honest to goodness bee stinging me?! It sounds about as awful as getting into a car accident! I mean, sure, it may happen, but one should probably try one’s best to avoid it if one can—for the entirety of one’s life.

But, yeah, I’ve got nothing against bees. I don’t like their honey, and they don’t like to sting me. We have a fine understanding.


• Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'iwe'.


  • (v.) to be full
  • (adj.) full
  • (n.) fullness

Iwe iko pai, io keyo iko pai…
“This bowl is full, but this bowl is empty…”

Notes: It’s not Caturday, but I really feel like I must share this:

Empty bowl, full bowl.

Those are Keli’s two food bowls. The one on the left is her dry food bowl; the one on the right her wet food bowl. Both bowls had been filled up when I went to sleep. Notice any difference?

I’d like to say that it’s a constant battle between Keli and us to get her to eat her wet food, but that’s kind of like saying there’s a constant battle between humans and time: Sure, we “fight” aging with wrinkle creams (or so commercials have led me to believe), but, I mean, come on; we know our place.

Yes, despite the fact that her wet food is much more expensive and, quite frankly, sounds more appetizing, she just will not eat it. We get her a particular high-protein dry food, and so we thought, “Hey! Why not get her wet food made by the same company? It’s five times as expensive as the other wet food, but maybe she’ll take to it the way she does her dry food!”

No dice.

In fact, when we serve it to her, she walks up to it, sniffs it, turns and gives us a look, and walks away. If she could talk, I imagine she’d accompany that look with, “Seriously?”

Anyway, I just don’t know what to do. We can’t give up, certainly, but if she doesn’t eat it… Bleh. Crazy cat. We get you a feast, and this is how you repay us?! You’re just lucky you’re so darned cute…


• Monday, August 29th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'uila'.


  • (adj.) all of, every, whole, every bit of
  • (det.) all

Uku uila poe fule ti ia i eli.
“All you need is love.”

Notes: Here’s a good shot of a surprise decoration at the wedding I mentioned yesterday:

All you need is love.

The wedding was held on a dock behind a set of historic cottages (half of which was, I believe, a beachside inn), and as the unused half was open, there was a faux wall put up (the white wall in the photo). It would’ve been rather bare, though, so it was, I think, the groom’s sister that came up with this to drape over it, which I thought was a really nice touch (the two are Beatles’ fans [as are all of us (or as we all should be)]).

A couple notes on translation. First, I used the singular “you” there because…well, I needed to decide on one. The nice thing about having a lexeme (in this case, a pronoun) that doesn’t distinguish number is that it doesn’t matter if it’s singular or plural. I’m sure that as far as number and the second person pronoun in English goes, the only thing that ever gets discussed is the drawbacks; rarely do we discuss the advantages. Here I think it works out better in English.

As it is in the original, it’s unclear whether John Lennon is singing to one person, a group of people (e.g. the world), or using the generic (i.e. not “all you need is love” but “all one needs is love”). Leaving that unstated works better than stating it specifically—and this ambiguity is impossible in a language like Kamakawi, with number specified on second person pronouns.

The translation is more verbose than English (rather unusual for Kamakawi), mainly due to the nature of uila, which isn’t generally used as a noun. As such, it needs to modify something—a dummy noun—which in this case turns out to be uku.

One odd quirk of Kamakawi grammar that actually simplifies the translation slightly is the alignment of fule, which is a bit different from ordinary transitive verbs. With fule, the wanter or needer is the object (expressed by ti), and the wanted or needed entity is the subject. Since Kamakawi can only relativize on subjects, the verb in the embedded clause can be rendered ordinarily, rather than in the passive.

Regarding the iku, it’s a combination of ui (which I see I haven’t done yet. Oops!) and la. Guess I’d better do ui soon…

Oh, as an aside, “All You Need Is Love” is the song that Erin and I walked out to right after we were pronounced husband and wife. :)


• Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ioine'.


  • (n.) wedding

Ka puke ioine.
“The wedding has concluded.”

Notes: And happily. I don’t know if I’ve been to a better wedding outside my own. Check this shot out:

Dave and Adrienne's first dance.

I could probably say more about Kamakawi weddings here, but I feel a bit drained, so I’ll have to save it for later.


• Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oine'.


  • (n.) marriage
  • (v.) to wed, to marry
  • (n.) spouse

Kiko oine nanai oi’i ie nanai oilea.
“Today my friend marries his friend.”

Notes: So, truth be told, I should get eight hours of sleep tomorrow; we’ll see if I do. Just got back from the first bachelor party I’ve ever thrown (mostly successful), and today my friend gets married. He’s a little stressed, but he’s sleeping soundly right now, so for the time being, my job is done.

I absolutely couldn’t be happier for him. He’s found the woman he loves and wants to spend the rest of his life with. I know the feeling, and nothing beats it. Can’t wait to see him off. :)


• Friday, August 26th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nukoa'.


  • (n.) meat
  • (v.) to have or be meat (said of an animal)
  • (v.) to be edible, to be nutritious
  • (adj.) edible, nutritious

Ka li ia i nukoa ke nevi i’i! Ae eli i ia!
“You have given me meat! I love you!”


After an utterly inexplicable one week absence, Caturday has returned! And to make it for it I thought I’d do something special.

I’m not quite sure when it started, but Keli and I have a tradition. Some time after Erin has gone to sleep, she meows to let me know that her food dish is empty. If she needs wet food, I give it to her, and she goes up and sniffs it and then leaves it there (the expensive food we buy for her specially doesn’t excite her in the least). If she needs dry food, though, that’s a different story.

We store the dry food in an airtight tupperware container, and what she does is she meows and follows me to the container, I open it, it makes a loud sound, and she runs away (every time!). Then I give her one or two scoops of dry food, she goes over to the dry food, and then (and this is the strangest part): she thanks me.

Every time!

She goes up to her food bowl and puts her face in as if she’s about to eat, but then she stops, turns up her head to me and gives me a look (or, if she’s feeling especially grateful, gives me a little meow), and I pat her head and she starts eating.

Though filming this little ritual ought, by rights, to be a two person job, I’ve tried my best to get the whole thing on video myself. The results are below:

A video of Keli getting dry food!

Unfortunately, she didn’t give me her darling little mmmrow this time, but her little head tilt is on camera. I’ll try to get another one where she makes her thank you noise in the future.

The Kamakawi are very much a meat-centric people. A meal isn’t a meal unless there’s a meat dish involved. Hence, something that’s “good” for you is derived from the word for “meat”. Meat is supposed to give you strength and vitality and renew your spirit; fruit and vegetables is for flavor and (for lack of a better word) regularity.

The iku for meat (in case you’re wondering. It looks right to me, but I know what I was basing it on, so you can let me know if you saw it before the following explanation) is a hunk of meat roasting on a spit (the ends of the rotating pole are on the right and left of the iku, and the line in the middle is the meat [the glyph has been simplified over time]). The Kamakawi do a lot of spit-roasting like this. Some day I’ll have to put up the vocabulary that surrounds such roasting. Some day soon… :)


• Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nute'.


  • (n.) wrasse

I nute pe.
“There are wrasses in there.”

Notes: Preparing for a wedding, time kind of slipped away from me. The wrasse is a really neat looking fish. I wholeheartedly encourage you to google it and take a look. Some wonderful shots on the web of wrasses!

I don’t have much to say about the wrasse as a fish. I think it’s a great looking fish, and I’m sure the Kamakawi would have more to say about them than I do presently. But I am who I am, so I’ll leave it at this.


• Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'keiki'.


  • (n.) dolphin
  • (nm.) a woman’s given name

Hava ue i tainu uomoko!
“A takeke keiki i kaneko… Ai lavaka?”

Notes: Today’s word of the day comes in response to a comment on yesterday’s post, but today’s example sentence comes from the fact that I completely, totally and utterly forgot to do a Caturday post last Caturday—and I just realized it right now.

So you can imagine how I feel at this moment.

I’m not quite sure how I’m going make up for this egregious oversight. I know how it happened, of course: I was in Reno, far away from my kitty, and I forgot. :( (Which is odd because I missed her the whole time.) I can assure you all it won’t happen again, but I’ll need to do something special this Friday…

For more information about the name Keiki, go here.


• Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'tainu'.


  • (n.) mahimahi (or dolphinfish)

Hava ue i tainu uomoko!
“We’re eating mahimahi tonight!”

Notes: This is the famous Hawaiian fish, noted for its taste. You’ll find it everyone on the islands, and many places on the West Coast (though apparently you can catch it in the Atlantic). It’s a good-tasting fish, I’ll avow. The actual fish look funky, though (as reflected in the iku). They have a huge head and a dorsal fin that looks like a mohawk.


• Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'tawa'.


  • (n.) skull

I tawa pe.
“There’s a skull over there.”

Notes: For reasons unknown.

So hey, I know I said that yesterday’s was my 600th post, but apparently the scoreboard says something different. If you take a look at the ol’ dictionary, it says that today is my 600th dictionary post. Outside of dictionary posts, I have four announcements. That means that either today is my 600th post, or it was a few days back.

Well, whenever it is or was, it’s always a reason to celebrate! :D Hooray for my 600th dictionary post according to the count in the sidebar! :D

Today we have a morbid word: the word for “skull”. You may recognize the iku. If you do, be not afeared: it belongs to ono. This version is simply the determined version of the iku.

Man, it’s hot in this state! Not dry like Nevada, though. Man was that dry! How do people’s lips not just melt off there?!